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My husband and I love to take road trips in the summer and one of our favourite stops along the way is outdoor flea and antique markets. Sometimes we plan our trips around them and sometimes we just stumble on them. If you enjoy perusing outdoor markets too, when you're packing up the car, why not include a Flea Market Survival Kit while you're at it?

Step 1: The Inspiration

One day while at an outdoor market, my husband was carrying an item back to the car while I stayed and browsed. He came across a metal tool kit in rough shape. He bought it for just a few dollars and hid it in the car so I wouldn’t see it.

Once we were home, he repainted it and surprised me with it later. I LOVED it, and inspiration hit that it needed to be upcycled for a better purpose: since it came from the flea market, it was going to be perfectly suited for a flea market survival kit! If you’re an avid flea marketer like we are, grab any old tool kit and turn it into a DIY Flea Market Survival Kit too, so you’ll be prepared and have everything you need for your next jaunt!

Step 2: What You'll Need

We love to hit the road on the weekend with just a moment’s notice so it’s a dream to have everything packed away in our kit ready for action. We just pop it into the back of the car and head out!

The attached picture shows what we recommend to keep in the kit:

  • Tick Kit
  • Insect repellant & sun screen
  • Insulated water bottle(s)
  • Tape measure
  • Screw driver
  • Post it notes
  • Marker/pen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Money belt w/small bills
  • Flashlight
  • Scissors
  • Pil container w/pain killers
  • Hair clip
  • Cap w/visor
  • Fanny pack
  • Extra batteries
  • Bandaids + polysporin

I can’t emphasize enough that one of the most important items we’ve included is a tick kit.

If your idea of weekend travel includes camping or hiking, then a tick kit is a MUST - even on its own!!!

Step 3: Be Prepared for Anything

I consider the tick kit the MVP of the entire survival kit! That’s why we’ve placed it front and centre on the outside of our box for easy access (we’ve chained it through the zipper pull and the handle of our kit as shown).

I’ll get into the nitty gritty of what’s in the rest of the Flea Market Survival Kit in a moment, but I want to take this opportunity to provide a ‘public service announcement’ to Instructables readers that ties in well with this post. Not only do we love to be outdoors at flea markets in May, but May just so happens to be Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

If you’re doing ANY outdoor activities when travelling – like hiking, camping or walking through the grass at flea markets and yard sales – you need to be prepared to remove any tick that latches on. The faster it’s removed, the less chance you have of getting Lyme disease – a debilitating and potentially chronic disease if not caught early.

Step 4: What's Inside a Tick Kit?

Inside the tick kit is fine tipped tweezers with a magnifying glass, band-aids, antiseptic and alcohol wipes, rolled paper towels, plastic containers to collect the tick if you happen to find and remove one and information cards. There’s also a plastic tick puller for your pet.

Although our tick kit was purchased through an organization by the name of CanLyme, you can also gather the items listed above and create your own in a zippered pouch (such as a makeup bag).

Like one of the cards that came with our tick kit says, ‘knowledge and prevention are the key’, so seriously consider either buying a tick kit, creating your own, or at the very least include a pair of fine tipped tweezers with the items you carry while travelling. Without going into all the details, ticks can carry more than just Lyme disease — none of which you want to contract— so travel smart!

When you're travelling - even if it's just for the weekend - it's not a bad idea to jot down where the closest medical facility is just in case. If you do get bitten while travelling and happen to develop a 'target rash' (which not all people do), that's a sure fire sign that you've contracted Lyme disease. Don't ignore it thinking it's a benign skin rash: get yourself to a doctor pronto to get treated.

Step 5: Removing a Tick - the Right Way!

Ticks are like nature's dirty ashtray so never twist, burn or apply anything to remove a tick. It will just get disoriented and spew the contents of its stomach into you. To safely and effectively remove a tick, grasp it as close to your skin around its mouth parts as you can get with the fine tipped tweezers so you won’t leave anything behind. Pull straight up until the tick releases.

If you're travelling with a spouse and/or kids, do tick checks on each other. If hiking through tall grass, tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your waist; yes you'll look like a geek but you'll make it harder for the tick to find skin to latch onto!

Some municipalities will test ticks for Lyme disease, so you can save the tick in the container provided with your tick kit and send it into a local public health lab to be tested once you're back home. But don't wait for results; it's important to seek treatment early.

I could monopolize my entire post with info about Lyme disease (it's important to be educated), however I should move on, so if you're interested in learning more, google 'lyme disease signs and symptoms' and 'lyme disease awareness month'. My last thoughts on the subject are just to keep a tick kit with you where ever you travel!

Step 6: Back to the Survival Kit

Now back to our regularly scheduled program!

An insulated water bottle is a much more practical and sustainable solution than bottled water! I wear a fanny pack to carry it – to be hands-free and and have cold water to cool down with on hot days.

I attached a hair clip onto one of the plastic compartments that resides inside our kit. That way I have something to control my long hair on windy days. Other essentials are lip balm, insect repellent and sun screen.

Whenever we go to large outdoor markets, I always wear a money belt around my waist and tucked under my top (a good idea no matter where you are travelling). It’s supplied with small bills and change in case that ‘I can’t live without it moment strikes’! It keeps our money safe from ‘sticky fingers’ so to speak.

The tape measure and screw driver (with a good variety of bits) are a must for making sure larger items will fit in the car and for taking apart anything that can be disassembled to make it easier to transport. I also carry a wide package of Post-it notes, a pen and marker (these items fit into a zippered compartment in my fanny pack with my water bottle). If we purchase something and can’t take it right away, I can stick a post-it on the item and mark it with our name. I actually tear the Post-it in half first so I can also mark down the location of the booth (I obviously keep that half on the pad)! This makes it easier to remember where to make our way back to in order to pick up our purchase later.

Step 7:

We also tuck away two caps with visors in our kit. I find that wearing sunglasses can be a nuisance when going into an indoor stall, (or garage at a yard sale), because it’s too dark to see. In keeping with my preferred hands-free experience, I don’t like to fumble with my glasses. Having a cap with a visor gives me another option in shielding my eyes from the sun, while also allowing me to see perfectly in indoor spaces, so I don’t have to wear sunglasses.

Some rechargeable batteries are handy if we ever want to test out something that’s battery operated – especially at a garage or yard sale. They also act as a spare pair for our camera, which I’d never be without at a flea market (I prefer it over a cell phone).

A flashlight helps us see under tables and inside dark stalls so we can shine a light on hard-to-see items; you never know where you’re going to find a diamond in the rough in the dark!

After digging around and touching items all day, it’s a good idea to have some hand sanitizer or wet naps. We usually go back to the car at some point to eat lunch, which we leave in a cooler, so clean up is a breeze. Both my husband and I are gluten free out of necessity, so we don't get far in our travels without a cooler.

It's easy to pick up a few cuts and scrapes when rummaging for finds, so supplement whatever you don't have in your tick kit (i.e. first aid items such as bandaids and Polysporin/antiseptic cream etc.) and add it into the flea market survival kit.

Lastly I keep a pill container in the kit to carrying a few pain killers just in case. Having the sun beating down on you for hours at a time can bring on the worst headache, so some Tylenol and water often save the day.

Step 8:

With our Flea Market Survival Kit in tow, whenever we hit up a flea market or come across a garage sale, we’re more than ready for the hunt (pictured above is one of our favourites markets: the Aberfoyle Antique Market in Guelph Ontario).

Have fun this summer - where ever your travels take you!

<p>In which backwater part of the world doy you live to have to care about ticks by going to flea markets? Ah, I see. Ontario. That explains it. :)</p>
<p>This would be a good use for my old tool box :) Neat idea!</p>
<p>Thanks Swansong!</p>

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Bio: Like Birdz of a Feather, I tend to flock to anything creative. I take my inspiration from everything around me; especially things that might otherwise ... More »
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